How We Grew Our Team To 16 Editors This Year

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Angelella Editorial
from Baltimore, Maryland, USA
started May 2014
$4,500
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi! I’m Kate Angelella and I’m the owner of Angelella Editorial, a freelance editorial collective that helps authors take their writing to the next level.

My editors and I provide author coaching, full and partial manuscript critiques, authenticity reading, ghostwriting, and book doctoring. We help authors who have taken their novels as far as they can take them on their own by giving them feedback on their stories and helping them navigate the next steps in their literary journeys, whether that means preparing to query agents and publish traditionally or getting their ducks in a row to self-publish with an amazing story. Our clients have gone on to sign with the agents of their dreams, sell books at auction, sign with managers at big Hollywood talent agencies, and author bestselling and award-winning books.

I’m Kate Angelella, owner of Angelella Editorial, a freelance editorial collective that helps authors take their writing to the next level.

My editors and I provide author coaching, full and partial manuscript critiques, authenticity reading, ghostwriting, and book doctoring. We help authors who have taken their novels as far as they can take them on their own by giving them feedback on their stories and helping them navigate the next steps in their literary journeys, whether that means preparing to query agents and publish traditionally or getting their ducks in a row to self-publish with an amazing story. Our clients have gone on to sign with the agents of their dreams, sell books at auction, sign with managers at big Hollywood talent agencies, and author bestselling and award-winning books.

how-we-added-8-editors-in-our-team

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Unfortunately, the downside of COVID meant that the writing retreat series we planned, including the inaugural retreat at a castle in western France the summer of 2020, had to be postponed. But we are still having it (June 2022!), and now we’ve had time to make it even better than ever.

We can dwell on what we got wrong so much that we can fail to learn from it, and that is the only fatal mistake.

With more and more people at home due to COVID and time to work on their books, however, we’ve been getting more requests for editorial work--and work outside of our original area of expertise (which, up until this point, had been killing it). This year, I grew our business to include 8 additional editors (for a total of 16) and a self-publishing coachwho helps people navigate indie publishing and self-publishing one-on-one.

Thanks to one editor’s suggestion, we’ve also implemented a customer survey at the end of every job, with an invitation to subscribe to our newsletter, provide testimonials about positive editorial experiences, and let us know about areas in which we can improve. It has already been an invaluable tool!

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

This year, with everything that has happened in the world, I have learned to expect the unexpected. I’ve had to learn how to adapt quickly while keeping the best interest of our clients at the forefront--particularly with our Elixir: France retreat, which many people had already committed to when the pandemic made travel, particularly international travel, especially tricky. I’ve learned through this process that the best way to handle difficult situations like a big event postponement is by communicating--and knowing when to involve our clients in the conversation. We had a “community” discussion for our retreat attendees when we realized we needed to reschedule the event a second time. We wanted to hear their biggest concerns, fears, hopes, and wishes for moving forward so that we could move forward with all of these thoughts in mind. Postponing the event until 2022 was a direct result of this conversation and it was invaluable being able to hear what our attendees wanted, straight from their mouths in a direct, face-to-face conversation.

This past year, my fabulous co-founder also took leave of the company to pursue writing and other creative endeavors full time. We ended things on good terms and I still miss him terribly, but we keep in touch (usually via text, to talk about all the TV shows we love or hate). I am happy for him. It has meant taking on more responsibility for me in terms of running the company and taking on fewer editorial projects myself, and with a toddler at home and a husband with whom I am sharing childcare responsibilities and a work-from-home schedule, time management is a skill I have had to hone like a blade.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

I’ve added many new editors to our team in the past couple of months alone, and throughout the next five years, I hope to have enough work to go around that I can add more and more. One big goal for me this year is to diversify--to bring on editors that represent and can further support the diverse books and authors we want to see people reading (in particular, kids, who have a greater need than anyone to read books that reflect them and the world they live in with respect, authenticity, and care).

I also hope to build a mentorship program for people of color looking to get into publishing, whether in a freelance or traditional house-publishing capacity. Tessera Editorial is a company that bases its entire business on this sort of mentorship experience and I look to them as an example of a business that is getting it right. I hope to continue to learn from the amazing things they are doing for their mentees.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

How can you ask me this! Do you know how hard it is for an editor to answer a book-related question?!

Okay. If I had to name names, I would say my favorites were:

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis (And I promptly recruited Ronni as one of my new editors when I found out she also edits!)

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding (And I would say so even if she, too, were not one of my editors)

I rarely get to read nonfiction, because I need to be up to date with the fiction marketplace since that is what I edit.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Something that I see often is that people want to start a business and have it be successful yesterday. It took me a long time to grow my business into what it is today--long hours, lots of jobs I did for free or low pay, and hefty time investment. People think I lounge in my pajamas all day and drink coffee and read books for fun. And while I certainly wear my pajamas more often than most people (no regrets!) and love that my job entails reading books for a living, the amount of time I put into it is way more than most people put into their 9-5s. I don’t have weekends off. I always have homework. And I care too much about every single person I work with to ever feel like, even when I’m working, they’re not on my mind. Caring is what makes me successful at what I do, but it’s also what makes it the most challenging part of my job. Entrepreneurship is not for the instant-gratification types!

My other piece of advice is about mistakes: they will happen. Own them and learn from them. I always remember the things I got wrong much more vividly than the things I got right; I think that’s human nature. But the mistakes we make as business owners can sink us or skyrocket us. We can dwell on what we got wrong so much that we can fail to learn from it, and that is the only fatal mistake, in my opinion.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Kate Angelella,   Founder of Angelella Editorial

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